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Töschling-Fuschl am See 20th -25th of September

At the end of September the well known classic car dealers Jack Braam Ruben and Klaus Werner invited for the third time to their exclusive Alfa Romeo 8C Tour in Europe. Once again the agency 2fast4you was entrusted with the organization but with the premise to do it in Austria this year after the last editions were held in Italy. As the previous events were just perfect and the agency has proved in the past (for example with the Bugatti in Spain) that they are able to organize an event outside their native country it was not a surprise that most of the participants of the previous editions were back this year plus a few new ones.

On Tuesday the 20th the 13 teams were welcomed at the Schloß Hotel Seefels in Töschling at the Wörthersee. The Wörthersee is known for its annual VW meeting with hundreds of tuned cars on show but this gathering was completely on the other side of the spectrum as the 8C models of the Milanese manufacturer today rate among the most sought after and most valuable pre-war cars on the market. As in previous editions the scene was dominated by the open race and sports car models both in short and long chassis configuration with coachwork by Brianza, Zagato and Touring with the exception of a grey DHC by Carlton Carriage. Beside the 2.3 litre cars again two 2.9 showed up but this time just one of the Boticellas and a very rare long chassis Touring Spider.

The first day saw a 181 km tour through the Carinthia region with two castles on the program and the leg was dominated by the drive through several huge maize fields. The first destination in the morning was the castle complex of Schloß  Hochosterwitz, a fortress dating back to the 9th century that was developed over the next centuries to its today´s appearance. Being in the same family ownership for the last 440 years the current landlord insisted on welcoming the rally personally with an aperitif in his own residence before leading the group in a 1904 Simplex to the nearby castle. Being arrived there the participants had the choice to take an elevator not for the faint-hearted or taking the long way up through the 14 gates that secured the fortress in the past. The weary climbing was rewarded with a spectacular view over the surrounding area and a small beer garden in the inner courtyard invited the guests to stay. After a visit to the museum with period armours the journey led to the lunch stop at Schloß Straßburg were a buffet was served in the old masonry whereas the cars were lined up in the patio before making their way back to the Wörthersee.

Thursday was the shortest day with just 161 kilometer along the river Drau (or “Drava”) passing the Millstätter See with a splendid overview when driving through the nearby mountains. The journey led to Gmünd, the small town being famous for start of the Porsche saga where the first cars of the type 356 were built, today a private operated museum reminds of these early years. But not the Porsches in the museum were the talk of the day but the superb Alfa 8C 2900 Touring Spider that was first seen on the road that day. Although being parked in front of the hotel since the welcome evening a  busy day planner prevented American owner Craig McCaw from doing all four days so he just jumped in during the stop in Gmünd. The name McCaw is not unknown in the classic car world with both John and Bruce McCaw being regular entrants in some of the most prestigious events all over the world and it seems that they have infected their brother now with the classic car virus. Craig McCaw bought this car (412023) a few months ago in remarkable original condition with just a recent repaint for a former owner back to the original grey as a basis for a future car collection and there are few better way to start with than with an Touring Spider. The 2.9 had a mechanical refurbishment in the last months by specialist Jim Stokes in England and was driven for the first time on a longer distance during this rally so a short orientation drive around the museum was done before the car took the rest of the daily trip.
The stop for the lunch was at the Schloß Paternion were the cars were lined up again in the inner courtyard whereas the owners were picked up by a coach to drive into the mountains for a barbecue. After a long drive through unpaved roads the trip ended at a small alpine hut with a big open fireplace in a separate hut. Despite the very simple setting the participants enjoyed a very relaxed atmosphere far away from any disturbing noise with a barbecue to contrast the evening dinners in the hotel. This proved once more that it does not always have to be caviar and champagne to satisfy the participants as long as it is fondly presented and inherently consistent.

The day ended with another visit of a small car museum located in Villach on the way back to the hotel for the final night there as the next day saw the change of the base from the Wörthersee to Fuschl am See near Salzburg.

Friday was the queen´s stage of the rally with the drive up from Töschling to Fuschl am See with 237 kilometres to go. But this should not only be the longest route of all days but also the one everybody was waiting for as this contained the famous Nockalmstraße. Some were already familiar with this road as this is a fixed part of the Austrian Ennstal-Classic that is going over the Nockberge  every year, others did know it by tales. The gated road is a 35 km long trip with 52 serpentines through this national park and with just few traffic this is the ideal place to play with a sports car. The road leads over several hilltops with the highest just over 2000m in altitude. The participants did stop from time to time to take some pictures of themselves and their cars in front of the scenery and some of the lodges along the road were to appealing for a coffee break.

After a few more mile the convoy reached Moosham were another castle was visited before the lunch break in Mauterndorf. The lunch was taken in an old knight´s hall and the served ribs with potatoes and sauerkraut were good but very rustic. After the lunch everybody was a little bit in a hurry as there was still a 2 ½ hours drive to the hotel to do and with the change of the location some owners wanted to be there early to make themselves at home before the Parmigiani dinner in the evening.

The exclusive Swiss watch maker Parmigiani was already sponsor to some of the rallys organized by 2fast4you in the past and this time again Parmigiani donated a dinner and a watch given to one of the owners. Furthermore the participants could be informed about the latest models in a relaxing atmosphere as collecting watches and classic cars often goes hand in hand. The dinner itself was a great contrast to the rustic lunch.

Saturday already was the last day of the rally and saw a tour by the surrounding lakes Mondsee and Attersee for its only stop of the day for lunch at the Hallstätter See on invitation by a local participant. The cars were led by his son in another 8C Touring Spider to the outlying mansion down at the lakeside. The refuge was build back in the 12th century and was the property of the Russian Czar as a climatic spa, today the house is World Cultural Heritage and the ongoing restoration is overseen by the responsible authority. The estate was in a very sorry state when bought by the current owner but even with the work still in progress one could see that it will be a gem overseeing the lake and the opposite waterside.

After a short welcome the participants and the staff were shipped by a large skiff to the other side of the lake to the small town Hallstatt. The mood was very high spirit and the accompanying boot with a small brass band led to the running gag of them playing the same song as when the Titanic sunk. After about 20 minutes in which several people took the rudder the party reached Hallstatt. Whereas most of the participants took the way up to the church and the bone house on top of the hill, the band and the scullers stopped at the beer garden for a beer and the Italian staff found themselves in a café/gelateria. With a few (sometimes funny) souvenirs bought the way back was entertaining and the awakening hunger was fed by the excellent smoked fish that was already waiting for our return. Served with potatoes and horseradish this was once again a rustic lunch to contrast the coming farewell dinner in the evening.

Due to the gemütlichkeit in the sun at the terrace overseeing the lake it was no surprise that the way back was delayed for about an hour. As usual on these tours the last stage was shortened by request of some drivers but a few took the original route and came to the hotel quit late so the setup for the final group shot was a race against time as the sun was going down and the shadow of the surrounding hills crept fast towards the hotels forecourt. The final result was achieved just in time before the sun was down and the owners of the cars were in a hurry to load the cars for the next days back passage as they also had to change for the farewell dinner in the Hangar 7. Hangar 7 is the famous playground of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz were he combines his passion for motorsports and aviation with a display of formula 1 cars and planes. Beside that the Hangar contains the famous skybar hanging under the roof of the hangar (the place RB also celebrates their successes in F1) and a starred restaurant with guest chefs from all over the world. This evening was the complete contrast to the idyllic lunch with a 15 course molecular menu served in the very technocratic ambience and a very different experience to finish the rally.

So when looking back to the 4 days in Austria one will keep in memory another perfect event with a well balanced group, great roads with stunning scenery and good food ranging from simple to extravagant. It was seen that a tour with pre-war Alfas does not need to be held in Italy to get the feeling for these cars as they can be enjoyed everywhere in the world and one can be curious were the next rally in two years will take place. Most of the participants will be back then for sure and 2fast4you will find a good location without doubt.

Report & Photography: Peter Singhof

Participating 8C's
01 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider s/n 2111044
03 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans Touring s/n 2211067
04 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans Touring s/n 2211059
05 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Boticella s/n 412042
06 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider s/n 2111027
07 Alfa Romeo 8C Monza Brianza s/n 2211135
08 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Cabrio Carlton Carriages s/n 2311240
09 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans Touring s/n 2311202
10 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Touring Spider s/n 2211055
11 Alfa Romeo 8C Monza Brianza s/n 2211120 / SF28
12 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Touring Spider s/n 412023
13 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans Zagato s/n 2111024
15 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Touring Spider s/n 2211079